CU Pride advocates for LGBTQ community
Organization promotes visibility, creates a safe space for LGBTQ people and allies.
Members of the LGBTQ community have worked in the credit union movement for years, but there has never been an industry-wide organization that advocates for them.
“The LGBTQ community is spread throughout every facet of life,” says Linda Bodie, CEO at $55 million asset Element Federal Credit Union in Charleston, W.V., and one of the four founding members of CU Pride. “The credit union community has these individuals working for, advocating for, and being members of credit unions, but there’s not an umbrella-type organization in the industry.”
The group held its inaugural meeting in February during the 2020 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, Bodie says organizers determined there was a need and desire to create a group that focuses on the LGBTQ community within the credit union movement.
CU Pride focuses on four areas:
- Create a network and promote the visibility of LGBTQ individuals in the credit union industry. While there are pockets of organization within the industry, there is no industry-wide group. Bodie says CU Pride wants to serve as a group that connects all LGBTQ individuals within the movement.
- Provide a safe but brave place for questions and discussion. “Don’t be afraid of saying the wrong thing or asking the wrong question,” Bodie says. “We want this to be a place where you can come with any question or idea and have a discussion that’s not threatening.”
- Create a forum for allies and social change agents. Allies are important because “minority groups don’t normally change things on their own,” Bodies says.
- Promote inclusivity and consciousness through programs, education, and networking. While these plans are still in the works, the group held a virtual CU Pride event June 19.
CU Pride is still in its infancy, but Bodie says there has been “phenomenal” interest in the organization.
“We just have to refine the message and refine what we’re going to offer and what we want to achieve,” she says. “The response has been phenomenal, and we know this is something credit union professionals want to participate in.”
Along with Bodie, the other founding members of CU Pride are Zach Christensen, communications director at Mitchell Stankovic Communications, Daniel Marquez, conversion strategist at Corelation, and Branki Stankovic, chief strategy officer with CU Solutions Group.